Trumpeter Joe Newman, some Basie men, and a few other sympathetic sidemen play an enjoyable set of 1950s swing on this CD reissue. Six of the ten numbers team Newman with trombonist Billy Byers, altoist Gene Quill, tenorman Frank Foster, pianist John Lewis (a perfect fill-in for Count Basie), guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Osie Johnson, while the other selections have Newman playing in a quintet with Frank Wess…
Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman is a four-disc box set released in November 1998 that chronicles the first three decades of singer songwriter Randy Newman's musical career.
Rachel, Rachel is a moving, mature meditation on loneliness and existential angst, best remembered as the directorial debut of Paul Newman. Newman intentionally chose this small-scale, dramatic story to make his entrée into filmmaking. Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward, is convincing as the title character determined to change her life. Though acclaimed –the picture won New York Film Critics awards for both Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, and an Oscar nomination for Joanne Woodward– the film suffered a quick death at the box office and is, regrettably, largely forgotten. Rachel, Rachel was released on DVD for the first time on February 2009.
Come a Little Closer is a surprisingly effective mating of a distinctive singer with seemingly incongruous material and production. Helmed by Gabriel Mekler, who'd produced Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night, the record features Etta James supported by a slew of hotshot L.A. session men (including Little Feat's Lowell George). The song selection ranges from "St. Louis Blues" to Randy Newman's perverse "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield" to the dramatic, melismatic "Feeling Uneasy," in which the junk-hungry James improvised wordlessly over an otherwise blues progression. Here's more evidence that Etta is one of the most versatile vocalists of her era.